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An analysis of the energy flow and energy potential from human energy harvesting with a focus on walking

Partridge, JS; Bucknall, RWG; Chen, K; (2016) An analysis of the energy flow and energy potential from human energy harvesting with a focus on walking. Cogent Engineering , 3 (1) , Article 1215203. 10.1080/23311916.2016.1215203. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper aims to determine the limitations for electrical energy generation from harvesting mechanical work during walking. The assessment was considered from the point of chemical energy ingested in food, through the development of mechanical work, to the conversion into useful electrical energy from the perspective of the conversion efficiencies. An average person was considered, with four mechanical to electrical energy conversion technologies assessed. It was found that for an individual walking on level ground a potential of up to 5 J/step of electrical energy is available. Stair use impacts this, where stair ascent decreased and descent increased the potential. It was concluded that, although the energy outputs are small, they scale with the number of people, where an estimated potential of 900 MWh/day is calculated in the UK. Harvesting even a fraction of this available potential would appear worthwhile, however, it is unclear if this potential can be practically utilised.

Type: Article
Title: An analysis of the energy flow and energy potential from human energy harvesting with a focus on walking
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/23311916.2016.1215203
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311916.2016.1215203
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license
Keywords: human energy harvesting, energy flow efficiency, footfall harvesting, human energy,
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522119
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